The Crested Cranes’ Head Coach, Charles Ayieko, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s response during the initial four training sessions. This came shortly after Crested Cranes secured a 2-1 victory against the FUFA Women Super League Champions, Kampala Queens, in a friendly match. This win is part of their preparations for the crucial Olympic Qualifier showdown against West African powerhouse, Cameroon.
Uganda will play host to the first leg of this two-legged encounter on October 26, 2023, at the FUFA Technical Centre Njeru, with the return leg scheduled for five days later in Douala. Ayieko recently assumed the role of interim Head Coach, and in just one week, he has rallied the team to initiate preparations for this important challenge. On a Wednesday, Ayieko selected Kampala Queens as the opposition for a friendly match. The Crested Cranes secured a 2-1 victory, thanks to goals from Shamira Nalugya and Elizabeth Nakigozi in the first half.
During the match, Ayieko divided the squad into two teams, with each team playing one half of the game. He explained that when selecting the first team, he prioritized players who reported to the camp on the first day and had already completed three training sessions. Ayieko expressed his satisfaction with the first team, which had full control of the game before halftime, but he also emphasized the need to work with the rest of the squad that joined later to enhance their performance.
Ayieko also noted his contentment with players who have embraced his offensive approach to the game.
However, the Crested Cranes faced a minor setback as their attacking midfielder, Lilian Mutuuzo, had to leave the field limping during the first half of the game. Speaking to URN on the sidelines after the match, Ayieko reassured that Mutuuzo’s injury was minor, and she was expected to make a full recovery before the crucial upcoming game. “Mutuuzo is okay; she got a minor knock, but she will recover, and by Sunday, she will be fit,” Ayieko said.
In the earlier rounds of the qualifiers, the Crested Cranes eliminated Rwanda in July, setting up a meeting with Cameroon, which had received a bye in the first round. The team that performs better over the two legs will advance to the third round of the qualifiers.